Chantal Da Silva is a breaking news editor at NBC News Digital based in London.
Contributed by Yuliya Talmazan and Julia Jester.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that the United States had made a "serious proposal" for a prisoner exchange and urged Russia to "accept it."
"They should have accepted it weeks ago when we first made it," he said. Asked if Washington is considered a counteroffer from Russia, Kirby said, "I don't think it's gotten to the point of calling it a counteroffer."
Griner, 31, said: Convicted of drug possession and smuggling, he was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on Thursday. She also has to pay a fine of one million rubles ($16,590), but she can appeal. Verdict.
The basketball star was killed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in February after Russian authorities announced they found an e-cigarette container containing cannabis oil in her luggage. 46}detained .
Griner, who is center for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and has played in Russia in the winter for the past seven years, admitted that the canister belonged to him. Hurry up and pack.
In Thursday's final plea for leniency, two Olympics. The gold medalist,, apologized and reiterated that he had no intention of destroying the parcel, making "an honest mistake" with Russian law.
Griner's legal team said the basketball star was "extremely disappointed" by Thursday's outcome.
"The court ignored all evidence in the defense and Most importantly, it completely ignored the guilty plea." Her attorney said in a separate statement sent on the Telegram messaging app that she would appeal.
Griner's WNBA team. 52}Phoenix Mercurysaid it hoped the Biden administration could secure her freedom. We knew it wasn't procedural, but today's verdict is a sobering milestone in a 168-day nightmare.
"Our hearts go out for her as we do every day for almost six months. I am working every day to get my family back together," he said.
The Kremlin has been accused of using Griner as a pawn in her politics, and the Biden administration is under increasing pressure from her family and teammates to release her.